Emergency Preparedness Tips for Persons with Mobility Impairments

Storage

  • Store emergency supplies in a pack or backpack attached to a walker, wheelchair, scooter, etc.
  • Store needed mobility aids (canes, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs) close to you in a consistent, convenient and secured location. Keep extra aids in several locations, if possible.

Emergency Supply Kit

  • Keep a pair of heavy gloves in your supply kit to use when wheeling or making your way over glass and debris.
  • If you use a motorized scooter, consider having an extra battery available.
  • Check with your vendor to see if you will be able to charge batteries by either connecting jumper cables to a vehicle battery or by connecting batteries to a specific type of converter that plugs into your vehicle’s cigarette lighter in the event of electricity outages.
  • If your chair does not have puncture proof tires, keep a patch kit, an extra supply of inner tubes or a can of “seal in air product” to repair flat tires.
  • Store a lightweight manual wheelchair, if available.

Evacuation

  • Arrange and secure furniture and other items to provide paths of travel and barrier-free passages.
  • If you spend time above the first floor of a building with an elevator, plan and practice using alternative evacuation methods. If needed, establish a personal support network.
  • If you cannot use the stairs, discuss lifting and carrying techniques that will work for you. There will be instances when wheelchair users will have to leave their chairs behind in order to safely evacuate a structure.

Transporting someone down stairs may not be practical without sufficient help available.  Persons using a wheelchair should instruct any volunteers on the safest way to transport them and advise regarding areas of vulnerability.  For example, the traditional "firefighter's carry" might be hazardous for some people with respiratory weakness.

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